Archive for March 2007

it does make a difference

We’re testing our luck by posting this, and things could change at any moment, but right now Duncan has slept through the night for the past 4 nights. From 8 pm until 5:30 am he hasn’t made a sound. Since up until this point he’d slept through the night exactly zero times, this is a big step for us.

What does sleeping through the night mean? It means parents who aren’t feeling sick in the morning, parents who are alert all day, and parents who can cope. Anyone who says otherwise is either a big fat liar or someone who didn’t need sleep in the first place. Those ten minutes at 4 am really do make a difference and even the chance that we won’t be up during the night makes me a very happy camper each evening.

(If Duncan now stops sleeping through after I post this it’ll confirm all my superstitious tendancies, much to Cory’s dismay – he told me I was being ridiculous when I hesitated to post!)

The past nine months have been absolutely amazing but they’ve also been the hardest months of our lives emotionally. Here’s hoping that some solid shut eye will make the next nine months seem like a piece of cake in comparison… (and that Duncan continues to grow and learn and smile as much as he already does – sleep is secondary to some things!).
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nine months and spring

It’s spring and the lambs are newly born, teetering awkwardly on stilt-straight legs. They run to their mothers and suckle, much the same way Duncan will charge across the room to me at the slightest flash of breast. We took Duncan to see them yesterday, a 25 km bike ride on some of the prettiest farm roads in the world. He fell asleep in the trailer instantly though and slept through the entire ride so it was just Cory and I staring at the still wrinkly-grey lambs.

Am I comparing my nine-month old to a little lamb? Only in the nicest, picture-book sort of way. In real life they aren’t very attractive up close!

The rest of yesterday was spent eating seafood and taking in the view at Catterline and then visiting the park for a go on the swings. The park trip was necessary to loosen up the cramps in my thighs after our bike ride. In losing my pregnancy pounds, I think what I lost was a whole lot of muscle mass. Hopefully the weather will stay nice so getting back in form can always be as amazing as our bike ride was!

As we put Duncan to bed, while drinking a pint of ale, Cory declared yesterday the perfect day. If it wasn’t for the fact that we went to bed right after him, at 8 pm, I’d say we’ve got this parenting lifestyle figured out.

Duncan’s had a great month, figuring out the world around him by grabbing, crawling, exploring, tasting. At home he’s in every nook and cranny the minute I turn my back, but outside in the garden, he’s apt to sit still and look around in wonder. I’m hoping that will last more than a few days, it’s a great five minute break for me and we spent way too much money on his rainsuit for it not to get a ton of use.

In case I forget the next time around, the best toys for nine-month olds include empty kleenex boxes, vacuum cleaners, the plants near the windowsill, front-loading washing machines, and anything with wheels. Toy cars, wooden blocks, and plastic balls are short-term distractions, but nothing can compare with the lure of the oven.

There are definitely fewer pictures being taken now, and the reason is perfectly clear when you look at this bottom photo. Taking pictures requires a subject that stays reasonably still, so that every shot isn’t a blurry mess of arms and legs. Staying still, awake or asleep, isn’t one of Duncan’s habits right now!




still my baby boy …

Happy Mother’s Day to me/ Happy Mother’s Day to me/ Happy Mother’s Day dear mummy/ Happy Mother’s day to me.

It’s Mothering Sunday here in the UK and I’m convinced that Duncan sang to me this morning, or else was singing to cover up the inadequacies of my voice as I sang to myself.

It’s my first Mother’s day and while I wasn’t keen last year to have to wait a full year to get here, I’m glad now that it’s happened when Duncan’s as old as he is. He’s old enough to give me cuddles, to stroke my face with his hands while I feed him, and to sleep in until 5:30 am (the best mother’s day gift I could hope for!). But mostly I’m glad that we’re celebrating Mother’s day now because I’m really enjoying being his mum. The absolute shock of having a newborn is over, my body is almost my own, and my afternoons are spent giggling and clapping and cuddling on the couch.

Plus two more weeks until Nana and Papa are here and Cory and I get to go on a date!
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I’m reading the book Mommy Wars, recommended by a friend as food for thought on the difficult decision each of us face when deciding how and if we work outside the home. From friends on both sides I’ve heard guilt, second-guessing, and insecurity as we canvas others for their experiences, their opinions.

It’s 158 pages into Mommy Wars before someone mentions their husband sharing a significant portion of parenting. And on page 81, someone writes: “Do kids need their fathers too? Brain: Of course, equally. Gut: Yes but not as much. Not in the same ways.” No wonder many of these women decided to stay home with their kids, if they believe that it’s a mother’s job to parent and a father’s job to work.

I’m disgusted at women’s own sexism, that we think we’re in some way superior parents (excepting breastfeeding). I grew up in a house where parenting was a joint venture and I know in my heart that neither Cory nor I is more important or more necessary in Duncan’s life. A child needs to feel loved and secure, but that role isn’t gender-specific. When I go to work each morning at 6:15 and see D’s sleepy, smiling face in Cory’s arms I don’t feel guilty. Instead I’m proud that my family is such a team!

Of course not every woman should return to work. What I do believe, regardless of how we structure our own families, is in the equality of parents. Real feminism would accept that parents are parents first, not mothers and fathers, and we should all be free to structure our lives in the way that works best for the family. I can work because Cory does his half of the parenting. He makes it possible, we can put Duncan first because we’re both willing to make career compromises. And I can’t imagine ever regretting that!
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happy helmets

When we first talked about going off the pill it might have been at the beer garden at the pub. It was definitely an idea planted in our heads by watching kids play happily in the playground while their parents sat and chatted on the picnic tables nearby. “How civilized” we thought.

Even if the idea didn’t start there, it definitely involved rosy dreams of playing at Duthie Park, going for bike rides with child in tow, and having an excuse to get dirty and roll around on the lawn again.

The first few months of a baby’s life have nothing in common with our imaginations. It was amazing to get to know Duncan and watch him change, but it was a complete shock.

Today was just like we’d dreamt of though. We spent the morning at the beach, walking around with Duncan in the buggy and then meeting friends for brunch, but it was the afternoon that really was a momentous occasion: Duncan’s first bike ride. D’s big head came in handy for fitting into a bike helmet and although he’s a wee bit young for the trailer, he’s a strong little boy and we kept to the sidewalks and bike paths. He sung us songs (consisting of only one note, but adorable to our ears) the whole way to the pub and back, including numerous laps at the park.

It’s only the beginning of March. This summer is going to be the best ever…
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